Suitable indications of eculizumab for patients with refractory generalized myasthenia gravis

Munenori Oyama, Kensuke Okada, Masayuki Masuda, Yuko Shimizu, Kazumasa Yokoyama, Akiyuki Uzawa, Naoki Kawaguchi, Ryotaro Ikeguchi, Yasunobu Hoshino, Taku Hatano, Yukiko Ozawa, Jin Nakahara, Hitoshi Aizawa, Kazuo Kitagawa, Nobutaka Hattori, Satoshi Kuwabara, Hiroyuki Murai, Shigeaki Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Eculizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets complement protein C5 and inhibits terminal complement-mediated damage at the neuromuscular junction. Recently, the REGAIN study showed that eculizumab was effective and well tolerated in patients with anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive refractory generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG). However, there is no consensus regarding which kind of patients with gMG are selected to preferentially receive eculizumab. Methods: Between January and December 2018, we followed 1388 patients with MG at seven hospitals located in Tokyo and Chiba. We evaluated the clinical features of MG and the patients’ quality of life. Clinical status and severity were determined by the recommendations of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. Results: Of 1388 patients with MG, 12 (0.9%) patients received eculizumab. A total of 11 patients who were anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive with refractory gMG (M:F = 3:8) completed the 26-week treatment with eculizumab. The disease subtypes represented included five cases of early onset MG, one of late-onset MG, and five of thymoma-associated MG. Overall, seven patients had experienced myasthenic crisis. The mean quantitative MG score ranged from 18.6 at baseline to 9.1 at week 26 (p = 0.008). Similarly, the mean MG activities of daily living score ranged from 10.8 at baseline to 4.2 at week 26 (p = 0.002). There were marked improvements in all patients’ quality of life status. Overall, seven patients were able to reduce the dose of prednisolone at week 26. All but one patient did not require additional rescue treatment. Overall, one patient with early onset MG could not continue the eculizumab treatment due to nausea and vertigo. Conclusion: We demonstrate that eculizumab provided remarkable benefits for refractory gMG in practical real-world experience as well as in the REGAIN study. Patients with refractory gMG with myasthenia crisis and thymoma-associated MG are suitable for eculizumab administration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

Keywords

  • eculizumab
  • indication
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myasthenic crisis
  • thymoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Oyama, M., Okada, K., Masuda, M., Shimizu, Y., Yokoyama, K., Uzawa, A., Kawaguchi, N., Ikeguchi, R., Hoshino, Y., Hatano, T., Ozawa, Y., Nakahara, J., Aizawa, H., Kitagawa, K., Hattori, N., Kuwabara, S., Murai, H., & Suzuki, S. (2020). Suitable indications of eculizumab for patients with refractory generalized myasthenia gravis. Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 13. https://doi.org/10.1177/1756286420904207